Greenhouse gas emissions and their associated changes to Earth’s climate, hydrologic, and ecological systems are amongst the most pressing issues facing society in the twenty-first century. In this thesis, I explore fundamental and applied aspects of one of the proposed methods for transitioning from a fossil fuel-burning, greenhouse gas emitting society to a renewable energy-based society: Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS). CCUS involves capturing carbon dioxide (CO2 ) from point sources, such as coal-fired power plants, injecting it deep underground into permeable, porous geologic formations, and, potentially, utilizing the injected CO2 to extract geothermal energy from the subsurface. CCUS is an inherently multi-faceted problem, with researchers and practioners ranging in fields from the Earth sciences to engineering, economics, and public policy, amongst other fields. Within the Earth sciences alone, researchers must focus on a variety of processes, including (but not limited to): the thermodynamics and kinetics of geochemical reactions; the flow and transport of CO2 , reservoir brines, dissolved solutes, and heat; and the evolution of porosity and permeability with the progression of geochemical reactions and mechanical stresses. Here, my co-authors and I offer perspectives and advancements within these sub-fields of the Earth sciences. Specifically, Chapters 2 and 3 focus on the thermodynamics of relevant chemical reactions; Chapters 4 and 5 focus on experimental observations of coupled fluid flow, chemical reactions, and porosity/permeability changes; and Chapter 6 focuses on placing laboratory-scale observations of these coupled processes into the reservoir scale. Together, these chapters offer a glimpse of the immensely multi-faceted nature of CCUS research.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2015. Major: Geology. Advisors: William Seyfried, Jr., Martin Saar. 1 computer file (PDF);xi, 197 pages.
Carbon Dioxide Sequestration in Sedimentary Reservoirs: Fundamental and Applied Considerations.
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